Ryan Garcia — one of the best young fighters in the world — has no regrets sharing his personal battle with mental health … despite the mixed reactions he says he received from fans.
TMZ Sports talked to 23-year-old Garcia — who’s ramping up for his in-ring return in April — and asked what the response has been like since stepping away from boxing because he was battling depression and having suicidal thoughts.
“Boxing fans are a little bit more harsh than say, if you’re a singer,” Garcia says. “Even in the NFL or NBA, if you come out, maybe you’ll get a better response. But, I guess for boxing, you gotta be as tough as you can be.”
“Or you’re scared if you don’t fight but, you know, it just comes with territory.”
The last time we saw Garcia in a boxing ring was January 2021 … when he defeated Luke Campbell via knockout in the seventh round.
Ryan tells us the long layoff led some boxing fans to question his toughness — something he says is never in question when he steps inside the squared circle.
“It’s been tough just hearing all these things about me, all these opinions on why, or what’s the truth on the reasoning on why I’m not fighting,” Ryan says. “I gotta hear about myself and character.”
“This hate, this noise, I know how special I am when I step into the ring — that’s never been a problem!”
“When I get in the ring, I always show heart and I always show determination.”
The silver lining is, Garcia says for all the hate and criticism he’s received for his transparency, a lot of athletes, influencers and even people on the street have reached out to him … commending him on speaking up before it was too late.
Garcia’s also got a Snapchat series coming out on mental health … where he’ll interview guests on the topic — and he tells us it’s releasing before or after his upcoming fight with Emmanuel Tagoe on April 9.
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.